gadgets

WSET wine course in Leiden

After years of enjoying many and more glasses of wines and spirits I decided to sign up for the International Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), qualification Level 2 and 3. The WSET wine course is the largest wine educator in the world with 56,000 students per year in 62 countries. The institution has become the international standard for sommeliers, importers, retailers and hospitality. This action does not come as a surprise for my inner circle, who are familiar with my entrepreneurial history in the restaurant business. The enrollment was just a delay due to travel and living abroad. What’s not to like in another discovery trail and acquiring a certificate for wine appreciation it is hitting two birds with one stone.

WSET wine course in Leiden

The above mentioned WSET wine course has approved program providers in The Netherlands ensuring the high standards of teaching. From the listed companies on the WSET wine course page in Dutch I have chosen the Dutch educational company “Wijnstudio”. The Wine Studio claims since 2005 the highest exam results for the International Wine Certificate with 99 graduates in one take and 71 graduates  for Wine Professional (Source: wsetglobal.com).

The Winestudio is an independent company, who does not sell wines nor being tied to an importer. The company also focuses in addition to the educational courses on gastronomy, the pairing of wine and food taste in flavor and aroma. For those who aspire a professional career and wonder what the education differences entails here are two summarized articles to consider on wine courses; comparison of wine certificationsGuide to Wine education courses. More information in the Wine education widget as listed on our Asianfoodtrail ZEEF page.

Having viewed Dutch wine educational websites information and comparing course fees, it was enlightening to notice their graduates success rate. While this is encouraging information, the decision maker however was distance for preferred location. The WSET wine course program is being held in my present hometown Leiden at a new course location this year. Instead of a bored meeting room it is being hosted now at the wine shop La Bordelaise which lies conveniently in the heart of the city.

Last night entering the class room, all students received the course material and the box with tasting glasses. The Level 2 Award course began with our teacher opening the first bottle of the evening, a Royer Brut Champagne, France. Although we received a wine tasting list overview, I wished I had remembered to take a snapshot of the wine labels. Besides illustration purpose I wanted to test a new mobile wine app, coming up in a next post.

WSET Level 2 award

Unboxing of WSET level 2 award

Kitchenaid 5 Quart Plus Series Bowl-lift Stand Mixer

Becoming or being a gadget fan starts with having a hobby or a passion for finding better ways to prepare or achieve a better result. Where else than the kitchen to start with, my family knows I just can not pass a kitchen store, shop or department without browsing around. Same counts for a bookstore, digital electronics and mobile apps. The tools prerequisites; -functional; -practical; -affordable (not always attainable). Handy is The magic word.

I am not sure where the line draws or fades between household appliances and professional equipment. Or what defines an amateur from a professional, while both being passionate in what they design, prepare for the desired outcome. A great dish starts with fine ingredients, a good recipe with the right proportions and the cook bringing it all together.

Does equipment, having the right tools make a difference? Is it about the end result creating divine taste and presentation? The responses to these questions will evoke more than a straightforward answer. The one thing I know is that the tools of the trade and gadgets really can lighten up my day.

Kitchenaid 5 Quart Plus Series

As a teenager I started whipping cream and cakes by hand with an egg beater, slowly advancing to use electrical tools for speed and better results. One thing leads to another by searching for better vessels, improving technique, handy or specific gadgets followed by investing in equipment.

I purchased a KitchenAid Professional 5 Plus Series 5 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer more than a decade ago. I fell for the patented PowerKnead Spiral Dough Hook and quantity (size), making batter and bread for a large family with guests.

As a bonus, the promotion at the time included extras;  a second stainless steel bowl; 2 plastic bowl covers. The pouring shield with wide chute was bought separately, even still the bonus was a real bargain. If you have to buy these items separately now the total sum now will be around $70-$80 (click on the bowl link for the frequently bought together overview at the bottom).

If you have to buy these items separately it easily adds up $70-$80 (click on the bowl link for the frequently bought together overview at the bottom). KitchenAid discontinued the 5 Plus Series model and launched a whole new Artisan and Professional range.

My 5-quart stand mixer model still works without fail together with the stainless wire whip, the hook and paddle as standard attachments. The only con would be when using the flat beater you still had to scrape the sides as with other likewise counter top machines.

Four years ago I stumbled upon two fantastic gadgets for the Kitchenaid which I ordered online since the products were not available in The Netherlands at that time. I use these attachments constantly and can absolutely recommend these two favourite items;

    BeaterBlade

Whisk-A-Bowl

 

Beater Blade with a patented silicon wing for KitchenAid which beats, scrapes and folds ingredients beautifully from the sides cleanly no separate scraping needed, the New Metro design Beater Blade an accessory I use as a standard for mixing batters.

Whisk-A-Bowl by Pourfect, a KitchenAid exclusive tool. This attachment outperforms the standard large balloon whisk in beating egg whites, it cuts down on time and improves the volume of beating egg whites.

I also came across the Pourfect Mixing Bowls and Measuring Spoons sets. The measured mixing bowls are easy for prepping ingredients with a little lip at the pout making it easier and sturdier while pouring.

KitchenAid Sideswipe blade is its own improved design as an extra attachment which has soft swipe fins with gaps for better mixing with nuts without crushing them, according to America’s Test Kitchen it outperforms the Beaterblade in better results.

Another tool is the use of silicon mats, they come in various sizes but a silicon pastry mat with measures makes it easier while rolling the dough. The one displayed in the carousel is a Norpro product, by luck in our neighbourhood the local Lidl supermarket store than had an offer just as good and almost in the same price range.

 

Tip: 02/10/2014 On Amazon.com website I just found out that they sell The KitchenAid 5 Plus Serie KV25GOXER, the same model I own and based this post on. The original list price was $419,00 and now on sale for $287,00 FREE shipping. It was the smallest professional model now being discontinued, but the accessories are still available on the market.

China new economy innovation course

Sharing of news alerts and stories:

In laboratories and startups across China, tinkerers with big dreams are pushing what many in the industry see as a potential new wave of Chinese innovation. They see smart gadgets—wearables and other devices that connect to the Internet or interact with users—as an opportunity to create a Chinese-designed product for a global audience. China is betting heavily on innovation as a way to help its economy develop beyond its traditional reliance on factories, exports and government spending. At a meeting of lawmakers in March, top Chinese economic planning officials called for development of a new generation of smart gadgets as part of a broader effort to emphasize cutting-edge technology. China has invested in areas to help that process, such as a pledge this year to spend 120 billion yuan (nearly $20 billion) over an unspecified period to build its nascent semiconductor industry. Read full article via Chinese Gadgets Signal New Era of Innovation – WSJ.

Trendy cover accessories for Smartphones & Tablets

As an avid user I have these devices as my personal kit and like to keep them at hand, functional and protected. Choosing a cover can be as simple, a fashionable or technical requirements as to one’ s liking or preferences, most brands offer choices of accessories as in slides, hard and soft covers but they are either butt ugly, not always practical or a short-lived  life-cycle that makes it just pricier. It is here were all the merchandising for accessories has found its way to owners and buyers to pimp up the hardware and apps for user convenience, I am a big fan of apps and will dive in a separate post with a list of favourites, most used etc.

The black keyboard cover (incl. USB cable)  as shown in the picture is a nifty Bluetooth gadget lightweight covering all applicable language character sets, this item is available at various online-shops in The Netherlands. I’ve purchased this model for €30 and enjoyed using it but carrying other devices along over time in my purse does get bulky and heavy. It wasn’t for long that I started looking at other possible functional accessories in China.

The fun of this 7inch tablet is the very convenient size, it’s big enough to read and hold comfortably. The Samsung GT-P1000 included apps with a pre-installed skin. But I opted to download Kindle and FBreader to use as favourite e-reader apps, read my post on apps & widgets for smartphone and tablets with more information.

Unfortunately no more examples or stock at the moment for 7inch Tabletphone covers, new models are on the way leave me a comment or send me an email if interested.

Smartphone covers for Samsung SIII model, I am using the green croco-print and am selling the other colour & models as shown.

The black croco model – €18,50 |   White model with strap €15,00  |   The red swivel model €12,50